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May 1, 2010

When I was working at a pre-school in rural Honduras, I asked my students how many of them had an immediate family member mojado – illegal – in the States. Every hand went up.

Amnesty International reported this week that up to 6 out of 10 women crossing through Mexico on the way to the United States are raped. Most of these women are from Central America. The rapists are members of gangs and local police and military officials.

Much of the abuse occurs in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, where criminals who are in cahoots with conductors and local, state or federal police halt freight trains, which often are carrying hundreds of illegal migrants, it said. Problems are also severe in Tabasco and Veracruz states.

Many migrants who pass through those states, Knox said, “suffer abductions, sexual abuse, mistreatment, extortion, murder and other abuses that they endure in this voyage of terror.”

Last year, Mexican immigration authorities detained 64,061 migrants, about a fifth of them women or girls, the report says.

Apparently some smugglers even require women to receive contraception injections before they will agree to take them across the border, planning against their potential impregnation.

Women aren’t the only ones to suffer sexual abuse. The report graphically details stories of men being raped at gunpoint.

Sometimes I wonder if knowing what they have gone through to get the U.S. would make conservatives treat immigrants with more compassion. Then I read the comments section from the article above and decided, no, that probably would not make a difference. Sigh.

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